As we enter the flu season, public health officials continue to remind us that routine and proper hand washing is still one of the simplest and most effective defenses against the spread of influenza.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, proper hand-washing can prevent up to half of all foodborne illnesses. Children who wash their hands at least four times a day experience 24% fewer days with colds and flu, and 51% fewer days sick from stomach ailments.
In support of this effort, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has launched its “Get Ready” campaign to promoting proper hand-washing. The APHA will also provide hand-washing timers that play a tune for 20 seconds, the recommend time for a thorough hand-washing. Additional information can be found on the APHA’s “Get Ready” Website.
“With flu season here and the spread of germs and illness becoming a greater threat, proper hand-washing is one of the most important and simplest steps adults and children can take to protect their health,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. “The Get Ready hand-washing timers are designed to teach people that it’s not only important to wash your hands but to follow the right techniques in doing so.”
Other Get Ready hand-washing tips include:
- wet your hands using warm water
- rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all skin surfaces
- be sure to rinse all of the soap off your hands
- when no soap and water is available, hand sanitizers can be an effective substitute until you can reach a sink. [audio:http://hospitalstay.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/11-Water.mp3|titles=Water]
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